Wednesday, November 10th, 2010...5:52 pm

#153: Don’t Fear Death

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I went to the cemetery today with my badass friend Mary Jean: historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, not that far from where we met and became friends as young moms 25 years ago.  A few minutes into our old people-style trolley tour, I looked over to find Mary Jean had put on her sunglasses:


How freaking perfect is that?

Mary Jean’s dark sense of humor and style put me in mind, as we wound through the gravestones, of a number of things. One was my ongoing search for what constitutes great style when you’re too old to pretend you’re 38 and too young for the crypt.

When last I posted fashion photos, I was criticized for focusing on the don’ts. Couldn’t I be a little less mean, a little more positive?  Couldn’t I find any people who were doing things right?

Well, yes, today I found a few, besides Mary Jean:

This fellow looks like he knows I was taking his picture, maybe because I came right up to him and pointed my cell phone at him and snapped a photo, while pretending to look over the field of gravestones to New York harbor.

But really, doesn’t he look great? Love the stocking cap, the orange and red combo, the keychain on the belt loop, the suede skaters’ sneakers. I wanted to rush right out and buy an outfit exactly like his.

I thought the woman below looked great too, in a French kind of way. You can’t go wrong with a big, well-knotted scarf, a Barbour jacket, natural hair and no makeup, slim-fitting jeans.

And then there was this pair. Well, really, it was mostly him I was interested in. Lots of guys, young and old, wear tweed jackets and chinos, but what elevated this outfit was the peach shirt and the long, soft-looking (trust me on this) green scarf, wound artfully around the neck.

If you’re an old guy, or gal, with a basic sense of style, you can take any outfit from ancient to amazing by adding a really special scarf: longer and more dramatic, in a more luxurious fabric and standout color than you may first be attracted to.

Back to Mary Jean. And those skulls on her glasses.  And the fact that her idea of a good time, like mine, includes touring a cemetery.  And that she’s not afraid to make fun of death.

I’ve been trying to come up with a title for a theoretical new spin on How Not To Act Old that my (yes, young) agent likes, but she thinks all my choices are too dark.

So tell me, do you like any of these?  Have any better ideas for me?

50 and F**ked
50 and F***ked (that’s freaked: count the asterisks)
Field Guide to the Evil Young
How to Rock Until You Die
Badass 4Eva

That last one’s for you, Mary Jean.

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  • Ooo – first choice for sure…..and I love the guy in the scarf….

  • I’m going to have to go with #s 3 and 4. My guess is that cussing with asterisks (real or implied), badass, and number-words are dated. Field guides and rock-n-roll are timeless.

  • I vote for choice #1 or maybe #2…more subtle.

  • I’d say number 4 — but what do you mean by “new spin”? I lovelovelove the title of this blog!!!
    41 and still looking for the right shoes

  • How ’bout “I’m no longer pushing fifty … Fifty’s pushing me!” (I’m nearly 52 …)

    I love those sunglasses!

  • Pamela Redmond Satran
    November 11th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Yeah! They looked especially good with her long gray-streaked hair. It was all I could do to keep from ripping them off her face and taking off into the graveyard — maybe grabbing that guy’s green cashmere scarf while I was at it.

  • I’m going with: How to Rock Until you Die.

    Are you renaming HNTAO?

    Loved this post!

  • Pamela Redmond Satran
    November 12th, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Hey, thanks, everybody. No, no, I’m not retitling this blog. I’m just working on a followup book that has to be called something besides How Not To Act Even Older.

  • Book title ideas for you, grrlfriend:

    * F That!: How Not To Act Fifty

    * How Not to Act Fifty: Rockin the New Dead (love this one)

    * F That! Fiesty, Fifty & Fabulous (ok, that’s kinda Sex and The City sounding, sorry bout that)

    * How Not To Act Fifty: A Guide To The Better Half of Your Life

    * Fifty: Old Just Ain’t What it Used to Be (And Thank God for That!)

    * You, Me and Fifty: Its Now or Never, Baby.

    Let me know if you see anything good. As a marketing gal, I just love the brainstorming thing — and btw, dig your book, blog and FB posts.

  • I have always loved touring cemeteries myself, even as a child. I’ve always enjoyed really really old ones that have those tilting slate gravestones from the 1700s with the morbid or heartrending sayings and poems on them, in particular.

    Regarding the next book title, I’m liking the idea of the Field Guide to the Evil Young. Since I have no idea what most of them are talking about these days, I think it would be very useful for those of us in our 50s!

  • #2 looks terrible! Her hair’s too dark, and she’s looks like a guy!

  • These people DO look great. It’s in the attitude and they remain youthful in spirit without turning into “foolish old farts” as my husband refers to those who think they can turn back the clock with overly young clothes and too many cosmetic procedures.

    Follow-up book title — Field Guide to the Evil Young is a good working title.

  • Finally, there are people like me

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